Tell HHS and USDA: Don’t Cave to Big Meat on Nutrition Guidelines


Tell the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture:

  • “Don’t cave to the meat industry on sustainability in new dietary guidelines. Move forward with your recommendation that Americans reduce meat consumption as a way to improve health while also achieving environmental sustainability and food security.”

The U.S. government’s top dietary council is about to do something it’s never done before: Issue a set of dietary guidelines for Americans that seeks to improve public health while also taking into account the impact of dietary choices on our environment.

As a result, it has drafted an initial set of recommendations that includes one crucial piece of new dietary advice that it hasn’t made before: That Americans should reduce their meat consumption.

That advice has sent corporate meat industry behemoths into a lobbying frenzy, hoping to strip those recommendations out before the guidelines are finalized. And as we’ve seen before, major progressive victories can be lost in a last-minute push of corporate pressure. That’s why we need to step in now and show that Americans stand behind these bold new guidelines.

The new draft guidelines were released in a report by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, run jointly by the U.S. Department Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.1

While these recommendations are a major step in the right direction, they are also long past overdue. Researchers and experts have been citing a link between high meat consumption and diseases like obesity and heart disease for decades.2 And in global rankings of meat consumption per capita, the U.S. consistently ranks near the top of the list at number two, with the average American eating more than 200 pounds of meat every year.3

Those dietary choices not only imperil the health of Americans, but also the environment. The resource-intensive, carbon-producing impact of industrial meat has long been a major threat to natural resources, the climate, and sustainable food production, while plant-based diets lower in meat have been shown to have a significantly reduced environmental impact.4

And linking dietary choices to environmental impact is absolutely crucial for public health. As the report makes clear, Americans’ long-term food security is at risk when our food choices degrade the very environment and climate that are crucial for food production.

That’s why it’s long past time to implement these recommendations. But the corporate meat industry and its lobbyists have already spent millions to influence Congress and wage a dishonest PR pressure campaign on the dietary council.5 That’s why we need to fight back until these guidelines are made official.

Thank you for your activism.

Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines.
“Meat consumption is associated with obesity and central obesity among US adults,” International Journal of Obesity, June, 2009.
“Kings of the Carnivores,” The Economist, April 30, 2012.
Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines: Food Sustainability and Safety.
“Meat industry has a cow over US dietary guidelines,” The Guardian, May 19, 2015.

CREDO Action is a publication of Working Assets | credomobile.com

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